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Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2008 Women's World Chess champion

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Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk is a Russian chess Grandmaster and a former Women's World Chess Champion.

Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk was born on April 23, 1984 in Perm. She learned to play chess at the age of five after being taught by her father. In 2001, at the age of 17, she reached the final of the World Women's Chess Championship, but was defeated by Zhu Chen. Three years later, she became European women's champion by winning the tournament in Dresden, Germany. She also won the 2005 Russian Women's Championship, held in Samara, Russia, finishing with a score of +7 =4 -0. In August 2006, she became the first Chess960 (Fischer random) women's world champion after beating Germany's top female player Elisabeth Pähtz 5.5-2.5. She defended that title successfully in 2008 by beating Kateryna Lahno 2.5-1.5. However, her greatest success so far has been to win the Women's World Chess Championship 2008, beating in the final the young Chinese prodigy Hou Yifan, with a score of 2.5-1.5.

n November 2004, she was awarded the International Grandmaster title, becoming the tenth woman to receive the highest title of the World Chess Federation, FIDE. Before that, she had also obtained the titles of Woman Grandmaster and International Master. She is 11th on the April 2009 FIDE women's Elo rating list with a rating of 2516.

Kosteniuk has been promoting chess in the capacity of a fashion model and ambassador of chess in order to spark interest in the game around the world. In the top tiers of international chess competition since her teens, she was intitially compared to tennis star Anna Kournikova: a young talent not shy about showing off her good looks.

Kosteniuk is married to Swiss-born Diego Garces and has a daughter, Francesca Maria.

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